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E04536: In his Sermon 356, preached in Latin in Hippo Regius (North Africa) in 426, Augustine, the bishop of this city, mentions a memorial shrine (memoria) of an unnamed martyr, almost certainly Stephen (the First Martyr 00030), built and paid for by the local deacon Heraclius; and the basilica of the Eight Martyrs (of Hippo, S01441), paid for with the money of the congregation and built by the priest Leporius.

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posted on 2017-12-30, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 356

In this long sermon Augustine lists the clergy of Hippo and presents their material status.

7. Diaconus Eraclius ante uestros oculos uersatur, opera eius lucent coram oculis nostris. De opere eius expensa pecunia eius memoriam sancti martyris habemus.

'The deacon Heraclius is constantly before our eyes, his works are brilliantly evident to the eyes of all of us. It is thanks to his work and the money he has spent that we have the memorial shrine (memoria) of the holy martyr.'

Other members of the clergy are listed. One of them is the priest Leporius about whom Augustine tells what follows:

10. ... Xenodochium aedificandum modo uidetis aedificatum. Ego illi iniunxi, ego iussi. Obtemperauit mihi libentissime, et sicut uidetis, operatus est: quomodo meo iussu etiam basilicam ad Octo Martyres fabricauit, de his quae per uos Deus donat. Coepit enim de pecunia quae data erat ecclesiae propter xenodochium, et cum coepisset aedificare, ut sunt religiosi desiderantes opera sua in caelo scribi, adiuuerunt prout quisque uoluit, et fabricauit. Opus ante oculos habemus: omnis homo quid factum sit uideat.

'As for the building of the hostel which you can now see completed, I myself laid this task on him, I myself gave the orders for it. He was most willing to comply with my wishes, and as you can see, he has done the work. It was also on my instructions that he has put up the basilica for the Eight Martyrs, with the resources God has provided through your generosity. He began with money which had been given to the Church for the hostel, and when he started building, devout people who desire to have their works recorded in heaven gave their help to the extent each wished, and up the building went. We have the work in front of our eyes; just look, everyone of you, at what has been done.'

Text: Lambot 1950, 136 and 138. Translation: Hill 1995, 176 and 178. Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030 8 martyrs of Hippo Regius (Africa), martyred at an unknown date : S01441

Saint Name in Source

Octo martyres

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Latin North Africa

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hippo Regius

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Hippo Regius Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Augustine of Hippo

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


This sermon was preached at the beginning of January 426. The dating is based on several pieces of information concerning persons and events which took place in Hippo.


The shrine is almost certainly that of Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030) whose relics were deposited in Hippo in 425. On this occasion Augustine preached Sermon 318 (E03606). The deacon Heraclius was designed by Augustine as his successor at the episcopal see of Hippo.


Text: Lambot, C., Sancti Aurelii Augustini Sermones selecti duodeviginti = Stromata Patristica et Mediaevalia 1 (1950). Translation: Hill, E., The Works of Saint Augustine. A Translation for the 21st Century, vol. III 10, Sermons 341-400 On Various Subjects (New York: New City Press, 1995).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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